I have already written a post about babies in dreams in general, but I would just like to take a moment to address in more detail the concern I hear frequently about a dream of losing your baby or child. You may or may not have a baby in real life, but in your dream, you are responsible for a baby that you forget, lose, let slip down the drain or something similar, have to give away or discover was never even yours at all. These dreams can cause a lot anxiety and heart-break, so I would like to hopefully put some worried minds at rest.
Remember, even if you are pregnant or have recently become a parent, this dream is not usually about your baby at all, but about yourself. To new and expecting parents, these dreams can seem particularly worrying, but there are variety of reasons why you may be dreaming of a lost baby at this time. Some (but by no means all!) reasons include:
- Pregnancy releases hormones that drastically effect sleep and dreaming. Studies show that dreams even change according to which trimester the mother is in, and which hormones are effecting her. So on one level at least, you know Mother Nature has a hand in all of this!
- It is not unusual for pregnant women, especially first time mothers (and also fathers), to experience a high degree of anxiety about the impending birth and the responsibility of parenthood. Dreams of stressful situations may be a way for the subconscious to work through all your deeply held fears; but more than that, by having a kind of imaginary “dress rehearsal” of all the worst case scenarios (often totally unrealistic) the subconscious mind seems to build a sense of confidence that it can cope with anything. Therefore the far more realistic challenges of parenthood seem a breeze by comparison, so these dreams serve as kind of pressure valve and enable parents ironically to feel less anxious in waking life. (One study shows that women with high degrees of anxiety dreams during pregnancy actually experienced shorter labours, suggesting there may be a link between preparing or practicing for a smooth birth in your dreams so when it comes to real life, you know what you are doing!)
- Dreaming of losing the baby when you are caught up in the serious planning required for a new or extended family can be an indication that you feel you are losing a part of your self. This may be your inner child, that you can re-connect with by having some fun, kicking back and letting go of the serious grown up part of life for a while. (Try doing something totally childish and playful - blow bubbles, draw with crayons, play on the swings in the park, whatever makes you laugh, relax and remember what its like to feel young again.) Or it may be that in becoming a parent, you feel you are losing something else important to you. Maybe you have had to give up a career, a creative hobby or a fulfilling past-time. Either way, dreams of losing the baby in this sense can be a suggestion to take care of yourself, and nurture something that is important to you as well.
- Baby dreams may come up when you are having your own family because you are reminded of a past hurt or unresolved issue from your own childhood. In this case, your subconscious may be asking you to look at what you really feel about experiences in your childhood, and to learn to love and nurture yourself in order that you are fully healed and available for your own children. You can do this by using a simple visualisation technique, going back to the time and remembering your pain, then imagining yourself as you are now, all grown up and about to give your own child lots of love. Imagine yourself giving yourself as a child this love too. Or alternatively, put a picture of yourself as child in the baby’s room. Each time you see it, and see your own child, remember how much you love them both. This can help heal your own inner child. For more serious unresolved issues or extreme persistent anxiety, please see if you can discuss this with some one who can help.)
Even if you have no children, dreams of losing a baby or child can be shocking and traumatic. These kinds of dreams are common amongst parents and those without children alike. No matter who has a dream of losing a baby, we can consider:
- What is the precious thing in our life that we have recently lost, given away or fear we will have to? What are we missing out on?
- When as a child did we feel hurt, rejected or unloved? How is this similar to how we feel now?
- Where are we neglecting our own needs?
- Where are we being too serious, and losing touch with what is fun, simple, innocent and enjoyable in our lives?
Dreams of losing a baby invite us to look at our ways of behaving and any old beliefs we carry with us from childhood that maybe aren’t helping us grow anymore. They remind us to nurture ourselves, tend to old wounds so that we may heal and let go of the past, and not give up what is most important to us. Just as a baby in a dream can mean a special new project or creative endeavour in life, to lose the baby can relate to our fear of this new project being unfulfilled in someway, of losing our creative expression, or losing the ability to execute the new idea that is so precious to us. In life, we are often forced to make choices that seem like we must give up one thing special in order to have another. Dreams of losing the baby help us recognise that the most important thing to never give up on is ourselves.
(I am researching dreams during pregnancy, so if anyone would like to contribute, please email me with a description of your dream and what trimester it occurred in. You can contact me at: email@example.com)